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Library Systems Report 2014: Competition and strategic cooperation

Automation Marketplace

The 2014 edition of the annual industry report that I have produced since 2002 has been published by American Libraries. The online version is available now and the feature will appear in the May 2014 print issue. The 2002 through 2013 editions of this report were published by Library Journal.

The library technology industry saw sharp competition in 2013, with a wide range of products vying to fulfill ever-rising expectations. To better position themselves for this critical period during which many libraries are considering options for their next phase of technology, a significant number of major vendors worked to extend their global reach, streamline internal organizations, and complete ambitious product developments. Competition has intensified for the applications used by library personnel to manage the collections and automate their operations, including the new generation of library services platforms as well as enhanced integrated library systems. Discovery services continue as a major area of activity, seen by libraries as especially critical given their intimate connections with customers, serving as one of the main delivery vehicles for access to collections and services.

This phase of the industry offers many choices, including both proprietary and open source license options, some based on cloud technologies and others that continue to rely on local hardware. Though a new generation of library services platforms has entered a phase of early adoption, the integrated library system remains viable, especially when extended to manage ebooks.

New products have entered the adoption cycle. These early implementations have the potential to reshape the future landscape depending on whether they achieve the efficiencies and transformations promised. For libraries considering their next systems, each of the players have options, with some more proven and others yet to be tested. Latecomers in the development and implementation phase will miss opportunities, mitigated only by the slow pace of library selection processes.

This report describes the current status and trends related to the strategic technology products and services and the organizations that create and support them. It covers the major resource management products, discovery services, and other technologies on which libraries rely internally and make available to their customers for access to their collections and services.

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Note: The statistical tables that accompany the report will be posted by Friday April 18.

Apr 16, 2014 16:13:31

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